Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska

Private Boarding School.  Misfits with computer-like brains.  A girl discovering her own sexuality while helping others find theirs.  Looking for Alaska has all this and so much more.

Miles Halter is tired of not fitting in at his school or home.  He has an obsessive fascination with the last words of people.  He decides to follow in the footsteps of his father, uncle and cousins and attend Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama.  He leaves home to follow this dream.

At the school he first meets his roommate, Chip “The Colonel” Martin, a young man who has skipped several grades in school and can name any country, its location, and capital.  He is at Culber Creek on a scholarship  It quickly becomes obvious that the two are opposites, as The Colonel is a true leader/extrovert who like being out with people while Miles (who The Colonel nicknames Pudge) is shy and would rather be in his room reading biographies.  The two quickly become friends and even allies when it comes to pranks.

Other members of the prank team include, Alaska Young, a sexual young woman who stays away from home because of the ghosts there and Takumi Hikohito, a shy Japanese boy who understands the inner workings of both Alaska and The Colonel.  Alaska quickly senses the attraction that Pudge has for her, but fights it because she has a boyfriend.  She decides to set Pudge up with a Russian student named Lara Buterskaya.  The two experience many firsts together as well as discovering things about themselves.

The kids have to be careful following the rules because of The Eagle.  The Eagle is the dean of students at Culver Creek and lives across the lake from the school.  He  has a soft spot for The Colonel and Alaska and often turns the other direction when they are pulling pranks.

Looking for Alaska by John Green was first published in 2005 by Random House.  It was the winner of the Michael L. Printz award for young adult literature in 2006, as well as appearing on several lists of the best books for young people.  While this is an excellent book, it would be best read by older adolescents or adults due to teenage sexual experiences and drinking described in the book.